The Houston Astros are in the World Series for the second time in three years after eliminating the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series on Saturday night. But amid the celebration, the team is dealing with controversy after an executive for the organization verbally accosted several female journalists after their ALCS-clinching win.
The Sports Illustrated story accusing assistant general manager Brandon Taubman, who has since apologized, of yelling at three female journalists in the clubhouse originally was published Monday.
According to the article by SI’s Stephanie Apstein, Taubman loudly celebrated the signing of relief pitcher Roberto Osuna, who has been accused of domestic violence. One of the three women reporters Taubman directed his comments at was wearing a bracelet in support of domestic violence awareness.
At first, the Astros called the Sports Illustrated article “misleading and completely irresponsible” in a statement.
The Baseball Writers Association of America issued a statement Tuesday condemning the Astros’ handling of the situation.
“The Astros’ initial denial of the incident reported by SI was an unethical and intentional fabrication, designed to discredit our members and all journalists,” BBWAA president Rob Biertempfel wrote in a statement. “The BBWAA is encouraged by MLB’s decision to investigate this matter and will fully cooperate. We expect that appropriate disciplinary measures will be handed out and made public.”
BBWAA statement on incident in Houston. pic.twitter.com/lOwrbD9pLr
— BBWAA (@officialBBWAA) October 22, 2019
On Tuesday, Taubman admitted in a statement that what he said was inappropriate, but that it was mostly “overexuberance in support of a player.” He said that his comments should not be miscast as a “regressive attitude about an important social issue.”
“This past Saturday, during our clubhouse celebration, I used inappropriate language for which I am deeply sorry and embarrassed,” Taubman wrote in a statement. “In retrospect, I realize that my comments were unprofessional and inappropriate.”
Other journalists who were in the room when Taubman went off about signing Osuna confirmed Sports Illustrated’s version of events.
Yahoo Sports baseball writer Hannah Keyser tweeted “can confirm” in response to the allegations against Taubman.
can confirm https://t.co/iQbcYRIkf0
— Hannah Keyser (@HannahRKeyser) October 22, 2019
Houston Chronicle reporter Hunter Atkins also backed the Sports Illustrated story.
“The Astros called this @stephapstein report misleading. It is not. I was there. Saw it. And I should’ve said something sooner.”
The Astros called this @stephapstein report misleading. It is not. I was there. Saw it. And I should’ve said something sooner.
— Hunter Atkins (@HunterAtkins35) October 22, 2019
Osuna was arrested on May 8 on assault charges stemming from a violent incident involving the mother of his 3-year-old son. The Astros acquired Osuna from the Blue Jays before the 2018 trade deadline, weeks after MLB suspended him for 75 games for violating the league’s domestic violence policy.
The Astros dropped the first two games of the World Series to the Washington Nationals. The best-of-seven series heads to Washington for Game 3 on Friday.